Minnesota to consider driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants
On Tuesday, Jan. 10, the Minnesota House Transportation Finance and Policy committee will discuss House File (HF) 4, a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants living in Minnesota to obtain a state driver's license.
Humphrey School of Public Affairs Associate Dean for Research Ryan Allen speaks to his research and the potential impact of the bill.
Ryan Allen, Ph.D.
While those with undocumented legal status may fear getting caught driving without a valid license and the associated immigration enforcement implications, research shows it is only a minor deterrent.
My research found about two-thirds of undocumented Hispanic immigrants — the community focused on in that study — drove a car to work despite their inability to legally drive in their state of residence.
“Even if a state doesn’t allow driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, they are likely driving without insurance or any guarantee they understand the rules of the road, which could increase the number of accidents involving uninsured drivers. Further, other studies have found substantially higher auto insurance costs in states that restrict access to driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.
As state lawmakers consider HF4, it is important to remember that restricting access probably doesn’t discourage driving for a substantial majority of undocumented immigrants, and may in turn have a negative effect on traffic safety and insurance costs.”
Ryan Allen is the associate dean for research and an associate professor in the Urban and Regional Planning Area at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. His research covers a wide range of topics including race and ethnicity; urban and regional planning; civic engagement and public participation; demography; housing policy and planning; immigration and refugee services and policy and more.
Ryan Allen, [email protected]